Diabetes Day – Be aware of symptoms

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Clinical champion, Clair Ranns, a pharmacist at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group’s Partnership, is raising awareness of a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women, on of World Diabetes Day

The Leeds diabetes is raising awareness of gestational diabetes.

She said: “With this year’s WDD we’re raising awareness of gestational diabetes in women. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects one in seven pregnancies. It’s brought on by, and usually lasts only the duration of the pregnancy.

“However, if gestational diabetes isn’t managed properly, it can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and result in a child being at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in later life. In addition, women who experience gestational diabetes are seven times more likely to develop lifelong Type 2 diabetes later in life.”

Terry Banks, 52, from Leeds, developed Type 2 diabetes 20 years after having gestational diabetes. She is now encouraging local women in a similar position to be proactive and contact their GP for annual blood testing.

The mother of two was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was 34 weeks pregnant with her first child. The diagnosis came about after concern over her and her child’s weight gain that exceeded the average for normal pregnancy. After diagnosis, Terry monitored her blood glucose and diet but gave birth two weeks later (four weeks before her due date) to her 7lb 3oz son. Her doctors estimated that had she gone full term, her son could have weighed more than 9lb.

Terry’s gestational diabetes disappeared straight after the birth and her blood glucose level went back to normal. Her doctor notified her that as a result of the gestational diabetes she was now seven times more likely to develop diabetes later in life and should go for annual blood glucose level testing. After moving to another city, Terry didn’t receive any follow up blood tests.

Around two years ago, 20 years after experiencing gestational diabetes, Terry requested a blood check from her GP. “I knew because of my history with gestational diabetes and factors like my weight that I was at risk of developing diabetes, so I booked a test. They found that I had prediabetes and gave me a 12 week membership to a local slimming club and diet advice with a diabetes nurse” Unfortunately, not long after starting the slimming club, Terry’s blood checks showed her prediabetes had developed into Type 2 diabetes. Visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/gestational-diabetes/Pages/Introduction.aspx for more information.

Gestational Diabetes facts

1 World Diabetes Day is on November 14

2 Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth.

3 It occurs if your body cannot produce enough insulin – a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels – to meet the extra needs in pregnancy.

4 The risk of Gestational Diabetes problems happening can be reduced if it’s detected and well managed.